Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I probably should apologize...

But I'm not going to. I've been busy! But I have been checking the sitemeter and it appears while I have met a blogging goal milestone, I have also lost a couple loyal readers. My average visits per day is down to six from nine. It's disappointing to say the least.

The milestone? You ask. Well, I'm very proud to say that for whatever reason, this post came up in someone's "my mom is f*cking my friend" pron search. Woo hoo! The oddness of the internet never ceases to amaze me. But with those search results I do feel like I have arrived as a blogger. Go. Me.

In other news, we survived the big FIVE! I'm FIVE Now! and the Big 1-0 this past weekend (Friday and Saturday to be precise) including a party for several of their friends. Here's a tip: because jackasses people are so bad about the RSVP, wait until people show up and you have a truly accurate headcount and order pizza. The five dollar ones from Pizza Hut are both cheap and tasty. SUCCESS!

Now, how do I bring my readers back? I'll work on getting back to a regular posting schedule. Honest! Now, I'm back to freezing my ass off. It's zero degrees here and windy as hell. Did I mention before how much I hate winter?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Got Snow?

We do. And I, for one, am tired of it. I really hate snow and we're up to our booty in it. Last year I kept telling myself that Western Wisconsin doesn't get lake effect snow and the previous several winters had been really mild on the snowfall front. Silly me, I thought I'd get lucky. We've been blessed with the white stuff since before Christmas and I'm SO done with it. I do not like snow. I do not like cold. We got seven inches of snow last Thursday and Friday we were rewarded with a cold snap so sharp that my hands couldn't take five minutes of shoveling. It was THE worst! Being out shoveling for one minute - even walking from my car to Aldi - ten yards or so - made my hands so cold they hurt!

I want warm weather and I want it now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Inspected, detected and selected...

Crikey am I tired of doctors and dentists and whatnot! See, I've got a very flexible schedule during the semester break and a fairly rigid one during the semester so I thought I'd get some routine maintenance out of the way during the winter break. UGH! Since December 20 I've had three dental appointments, three doctors appointments and there are still a few more on the calendar. Bratticus is having oral surgery the 23rd and I go back into the semester schedule that same week. EEP! When all is said and done, I'll have had three crowns, my annual pap test, mammogram and (whoohoo!) a colonoscopy. Let me tell you that colonoscopy is TONS. OF. FUN. You get to sleep through the test, but the prep is a beeyotch.

I'm tired. But I'll be 100% sure I'm healthy when I'm done!

A VERY SPECIAL PRIZE if you can identify the lyric in the post title.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kid Picture? Knit Picture? You Decide!

The Great Khan models the finished Fibonacci Scarf. It really drapes nicely after I blocked it. My mom seems quite happy I gave it to her.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Knitting Post!

Lengthwise Scarf
Originally uploaded by lisamarie51
Since you lazy bums don't seem to care what I put up here lately, have a picture of this awesome scarf I just finished. Pretty?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Well, I AM a Woman of Many Talents!

And I do surely wish web design was one of them because it would greatly enhance my marketability as a freelancer which would certainly grow my income and utilize a great deal more of my earning capacity now wouldn't it?

However, this work is not my own. I was pretty bored with the old layouts so I prayed to the Web Gods for their guidance with blogger templates. Searched around a bit and found this. Then, you download the template of your choosing to your desktop. If you use new Blogger like I do, then you can go into your dashboard under the template setting and select the HTML tab. Upload the file and you're well on your way. This file will be an xml or css file, by the way. Then you can do the tweaking to get the blog to your liking. Isn't that simple? I look forward to seeing my two most loyal readers' new layouts very soon!

By the way, you'll want to bookmark your Blogger Dashboard page. You'll thank me later. Once I updated the layout all the Google stuff at the top was gone. It was easier to bookmark the dashboard than try to get it back.

My talents are focused on finding value and adding value. Always on the lookout for a better way, I strive to improve systems, processes and relationships. I guess I need to start blogging on my other website too. Damn. I really would like to build a consulting practice.

Oh and don't forget to start your Amazon shopping here. If I can generate any revenue through that site, it goes toward another adoption. Thanks!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Karmic Law or Me vs. the Cosmos...

I believe that everything that happens to you happens for a reason. I believe that, despite how it looks at the time, you never get more crap thrown at you than you can handle. I also believe that what you give / do comes back to you threefold. Karma does apply people. Trust me.

How do I know? Well, I'm working from home today. Really! I'm wracking my addled brain trying to determine how best to deliver my courses in the spring. And Bratticus had to work at 1:00. So I had to drive her since I've got an appointment this afternoon myself. It was then that the Gods gave me a series of signs that was impossible to ignore.

1. I was tired.
2. I had to drive Bratticus to work.
3. The low fuel light came on so I had to stop for gas on the way home.
4. Mysteriously, the pump told me I had to go inside for my receipt despite there being no problems with the card.

This meant, of course, that I was meant to buy a cappuccino.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Two down, 98 to go!

I have also finished The Alchemist today. I loved it. Perhaps 2008 will be the year that I find my own Personal Legend. Lord knows I'm looking for it! It's late and I'm sleepy, but this book was just really uplifting. I needed to read it right now and I'm glad I did.

Life Changing Reading

I have finished book one of 100. "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins is one of a few books that I've read in my lifetime that I can honestly say is provocative and life-changing. Perkins spent several years as an "Economic Hitman" - one of those people who works for American firms in foreign countries helping the foreign country secure large loans for economic development projects - roads, schools, power plants and the like. The spoils of these loans go to companies just like the one that Perkins worked for and to a select few citizens of the foreign country. It's disgusting. Amazon's readers give it about 3.5 stars and I would give it a 4 or 4.5 of five. It is thought provoking and a little guilt-creating for me as someone who really truly wants to make the world better but doesn't know where to start. Criticisms from Amazon reviewers include allegations of a political bent that perhaps I am too obtuse to detect and that it is vague. I feel that if more details of creating optimistic, likely false economic forecasts to secure World Bank financing were revealed, there would be incredible fallout internationally for the author and the United States as well as several large global corporations and government organizations. It needed to be vague. However, it does tell stories and illustrate some of the arrogance that affects the international image of the United States and its people. I highly recommend that my six loyal blog readers give this one a try.

If, like me, you already aspire to make the world a better place, this will further fuel the fire. If you don't, perhaps it will light the spark. While not on par with William Lederer's "The Ugly American", I highly recommend this book. In fact, reading both in some order will definitely change your life. I guarantee it. "The Ugly American" was suggested to me by my Uncle when I was about 12. I took his advice and checked a well-worn copy out of the library. I've not been the same since.

If you read either one, please let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Post You've All Been Waiting For!

I'm the type to make New Year's Resolutions. You know you're not even surprised by this. This year, however, I am not honestly seeing the purpose of vague, shoulda coulda type goals because, well, I don't get them done. So I have my "must-dos" for 2008.

1. I must take better care of my physical, spiritual and emotional health in 2008. I'll be 40 on May 1 and I feel like shit in all these areas. I need to do what it takes to enjoy the great marriage and great kids I've got and that means taking care of me in every dimension.

Things I hope will support this goal:
1. Read 2 books per week. Seems a lot? I'm a fast reader. I just forgot how much I enjoy it during the year that I couldn't enjoy it because of the cataract. The cataract is gone. It should no longer control me.
2. Commit to regular physical activity. Not only will it lower cholesterol, weight and stress (stress which is leading me to a several thousand dollar dental bill thankyouverymuch) but it will improve my overall confidence, self-esteem (which couldn't, frankly, get worse) and give me more energy for the wonderful children God has blessed me with.
3. Strengthen and deepen my relationships with my husband, children and whomever else might be interested. Newsflash: I love whole-heartedly. If you don't know how much I love you, I'm sorry. And no, much as I'd like to, I don't really hate anybody. People piss me off but they just can't help themselves and I forgive them for it.
4. Strengthen and deepen my relationship with God. I am envious of people who can and do rely on faith to get them through the dark times. It seems so much healthier than Lexapro, doesn't it?

Achieving this goal marks a long-term investment in a life well-lived.

2. I must work on my and my family's financial health in 2008. It should not be this hard to succeed financially on our income. Yes, we took a 50% pay cut on both sides in 2007 and we still own the monkey on our backs in West Michigan, but again we let the negative control us and slowly consume us. This must stop.

Things I hope will support this goal:
1. I must work diligently to minimize my excess earning capacity. I love what I do. I could do it forever if it paid more but making less than I made right out of college with our current level of debt just isn't going to cut it. I have two choices: Supplement the income with freelance work or find a new career path either by getting a PhD or by finding similar but more lucrative employment. Options include business analyst, project management, training and development and, of course, consultant.

2. I must get a grip on our financial situation to the point where we do actually know what our account balances are, can and do meet our financial commitments each and every month.

3. Simplify. I am pressed to be more "green" in my spending and consumption practices. The planet is full of too many people who, like me, aren't paying enough attention to our relationship with the planet. Mother Earth, I am sorry and I promise to change.

4. Question everything. Why is this necessary? Is this a need or a want? What are the standards of performance? I need to apply my S&P background to my purchasing habits and not buy junk or over-spend on essentials. Relentlessly pursue value in all areas and be an informed, responsible consumer. My mantra should be "I have a BS in Finance and an MBA and I'm not afraid to use them!"

5. Find ways to use my hobbies to reduce costs or increase income.

Achieving this goal will enable me to create the kind of lifestyle I want my family to have. One where travel and adventure are not luxuries we can't afford. I want to see the world and I want to see it with my husband and our children.

3. The oxymoron: I am a perfectionist. Most of all this year I need to learn to give myself a break. I don't need to be perfect the first try. But I do need to do and be the best I can everytime. If it is worth doing, it's worth 100% effort.

Now you can think I'm crazy, but I do know a bit about and dabble with Tarot cards from time to time. I felt compelled to do a reading for myself in honor of the new year. My reading was definitely interesting. In the base of the matter position, I found The Fool. The Fool heralds a journey, new beginnings, changes. In the hopes and fears position, I found Temperance. Temperance, in my deck, represents the Goddess Iris. Basically, Temperance is about being in balance. All things in moderation, moderation in all things. Interesting, huh? Now I don't perceive the Tarot as the Gospel, but I do believe that important lessons are learned when you most need to learn them. The remainder of my 10 card spread consisted entirely of minor arcana cards focused on strong relationships and weathering change (mostly cups and swords, if you're curious). I am opening my heart and mind to the lesson.

I hope that when lessons present to you, you do the same.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

I apologize for the inadvertent hiatus but our anniversary was Monday and, as usual, I had an immense amount of cleaning, etc to do in preparation for the festivities. The end result was a satisfactory evening. As usual, some people did my pet peeve which is to RSVP "yes" and then not show up for the party meaning I had way too much food (UGH!) but all in all, a satisfactory time was had by those in attendance.

However, I will be 40 this year and stayed up past midnight. Yesterday I did nothing too!

I'll blog better tomorrow.